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What Size Should Garage Lights Be?

Whether it is a new house or a home renovation project, exterior lighting is an important design element to create the right ambiance after sunset. Attached garage doors form a significant part of your home façade. Naturally you want the exterior lights on garage doors to be just right. So what size should exterior garage lights be?

The size of the exterior garage door light fixture should be between ¼ th to ⅓ rd the height of the garage door. As garage doors are typically 7’ high, garage door light fixtures should be between 21” and 28”.

The above works as a good guideline. In most cases, if you keep the size of exterior lights on garage doors between 21” and 28”, you will achieve a harmonious balance between all elements of your house facade.

Size of Exterior Lights on Garage Doors

Exterior garage door lighting has three key roles to play.

  1. Present a harmonious look to your entire house facade by maintaining the right balance between the size of exterior lights with other exterior elements such as  doors, windows, porches, driveway, front yard landscaping, etc.
  2. Enhance the curb appeal of your home after sunset.
  3. Increase visibility and therefore safety in the area just outside the garage door. the 

The size of exterior lights on your garage door should be chosen with care to ensure that they fulfill all of the above three roles. 

For a new house or a major home façade renovation, it is a good idea to choose all the exterior light fixtures at the same time. Stick to the same brand. Most well known, high end brands have matching light fixtures for different sections of the façade, including garage doors.

How Do I Choose a Light for My Garage?

The size of exterior lights for your garage doors also depends on the size of the garage, number of light fixtures and their placement.

A two car garage with a double door (typically 16’ wide) is possibly the most common configuration. A smaller house may have a single car garage with a single door (typically 8’ wide). Larger houses may have a three or even a four car garage.

A three car garage can have three single doors or one single door and one double door. A four car garage door will most likely have two double doors, though other combinations are possible.

Exterior lights can be placed either on the sides or above the garage doors. Placements which combine the two are also possible and actually better for larger garages. The size of exterior lights depends on where it is placed in relation to the garage door.

There is a very large range of light fixture designs to choose from. Flush mount sconces, lantern or pendant designs, barn lights are some of the popular ones. The light fixture design also has a role to play in determining the size of exterior lights for garage doors.

Side mounted light fixtures should be small, if armless, but larger if with arms. Overhead singular light fixtures, with arms, can be considerably larger. Overall the size of exterior garage lights should stay between 21’ and 28”

Of course, this is only a guideline and exceptions, depending on the actual situation, are always possible. 

How Bright Should Exterior Garage Lights Be?

Bright exterior lights on garage doors illuminate the driveway and make the garage a safer place. It is not unknown for thieves to lurk in the dark shadows and sneak into the garage as you are busy parking.

On the other hand, very bright exterior lights take away ambiance. Soft lighting will not create a glare and will actually highlight some of the noteworthy design features while keeping the not so notable ones in the dark.

You need to maintain a fine balance when it comes to choosing between illumination & security vs mood lighting & curb appeal. A practical way to achieve this balance is by going for more light sources of low brightness as opposed to a few light sources with high brightness.

How Many Lumens Do I Need for Outside Garage Lights?

Lumen is a measure of the actual amount of light that is produced by a light source. This should not be confused with the energy consumed by the light source. The energy consumed is measured in watts.

Light Source Technology has been evolving. In the beginning, light bulbs used only Incandescent Light (invented by Thomas Edison). Then came Fluorescent Light  and now we have LED (Light Emitting Diode).

The light-emitting diode (LED) is today’s most energy-efficient and rapidly-developing lighting technology.

As a rough estimate, for the same lumen output, an LED bulb consumes just 10% of what an incandescent bulb consumes.

To measure the illuminance, we use the unit of “footcandle”. This can be measured using a handheld light meter, such as the BTMETER.

Around 400 lumens will be enough to illuminate the area outside a single car garage. Use a 400 lumen LED bulb if your light fixture is placed above and in the center of the garage door. Use two 220 lumen LED bulbs if you have two light fixtures, one on each side of the door.

For larger garages, increase the lumens in the same ratio as the garage door width. You should complement the garage door lighting with driveway lighting and landscape lighting. 

This way you can increase the illuminance in front of the garage and actually enhance the curb appeal of your home! 

Warm & Cool Light is the color of the light emitted. Warm light is white light with a yellow undertone while cool light is white light with a blue undertone. 

The measure is Kelvin, which ranges from 2700K to 6500K. Lower end of the scale is warm light and the higher end is cool light.

Warm light is great for creating a mellow ambiance. It works very well with traditional architectural styles and lots of landscaping!

Use the thumb rules and guidelines but do not be restricted by them. Feel free to use your creativity and spirit of adventure!!

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Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and useful.

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